When is the best time to take creatine? Is a question that we see all of the time. Do a search online and you will find so many theories about when you should take creatine it will make your head spin. Should you take it before you workout? Afterward? Maybe with meals or before bed? After reading this article we promise that you will know the best time to take creatine monohydrate.
When taking creatine you want to mix and drink it at a time when your body is best able to shuttle as much as possible into your muscle cells. The hour or so following your workouts is this time. The reason for this is that the hour or so after you finish working out is a time when the hormone insulin is very sensitive and ready to shuttle amino acids, carbohydrates, and even creatine monohydrate into your muscles. One study shows that taking creatine at this time with a protein and carbohydrate drink can increase the amount that gets into your muscle cells(1).
What about taking creatine before your workouts? While there are many people who theorize
taking it at this time can increase your risk of dehydration and cramps there is no scientific evidence that proves this to be true. Studies acutally show the opposite to be true, creatine may have a beneficial effect when you are working out in hot temperatures (2,3). Creatine, researchers find, does not increase your risk of cramps or dehradration and may actually decrease your risk of dehydration when exercising in hot weather. Still, given that insulin sensitivity isn’t as high at this time as post-workout, we feel that post-workout is a better time than pre-workout to take your creatine.
Are there other times when you should or should not take creatine monohydrate? Well, to be honest with you, aside from taking it post-workout you can take it pretty much anytime and still get good results, post-workout just happens to be the best time. If you are following a loading plan where you take 10 or grams a day for 5-7 days make one of your daily doses part of your post-workout shake and take the other doses at other times throughout the day.
You also need to make sure you buy the highest quality creatine supplement available. We recommend using a micronized creatine that uses Creapure brand creatine monohydrate. Micronized creatine is worth using since it mixes easily and completley in water and may be absorped better. You should only use a product that uses Creapure brand creatine monohydrate since it is guaranteed to be free of impurities and any harmful compounds. Tests show that every scoop of Creapure brand creatine contains 99.5% creatine monohydrate.
One micronized creatine monohydrate supplement that uses Creapure creatine is Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine. You can’t beat it’s price either.
1. Cribb PJ, Hayes A. Effects of supplement timing and resistance exercise on skeletal muscle hypertrophy.Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 Nov;38(11):1918-25.
2. Greenwood M, Kreider RB, Melton C, Rasmussen C, Lancaster S, Cantler E, Milnor P, Almada A. Creatine supplementation during college football training does not increase the incidence of cramping or injury. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb;244(1-2):83-8.
3. Powers ME, Arnold BL, Weltman AL, Perrin DH, Mistry D, Kahler DM, Kraemer W, Volek J. Creatine Supplementation Increases Total Body Water Without Altering Fluid Distribution. J Athl Train. 2003 Mar;38(1):44-50.